14 tips for a successful blog

Posted on: May 13th, 2011

Here are my 14 tips on how to write a successful blog:

1. Be clear why you are doing a blog. Is it:

  • to drive traffic to your site?
  • to position yourself as an expert?
  • to raise your profile?
  • to sell stuff (eg: e-books)?
  • to air your views?
  • all of these?

2. Use WordPress – it’s free and easy to use. There are lots of free plug-ins and free templates. (This is a WordPress blog – although I got a designer to customise it for me so it doesn’t look like an off-the-shelf template.)

3. Use keywords in the headline text, links, browser title, page description and alt tags. That way, you’ll get picked up by the search engines.

4. Install Google analytics. It’s free and gives you a mine of information about who’s visiting your blog, where they come from, how long they stayed, how many pages they looked at etc.

5. Write stuff of value. People will return if you write informative posts that help them. And they’ll also tell others. Also, writing great content will position you as an authority in your subject.

6. End with a question or something controversial to invite comments.

7. Tweet your posts. I tend to tweet mine three times, at different times of the day, to catch people in different time zones.

8. Guest post on other blogs to attract new readers.

9. Give your readers an incentive to sign up as a subscriber, so they get alerted to each new post you write. My incentive is to download the pdf  “21 Freelance Challenges and How to Overcome Them”.

10. Blog on a regular basis.

11. Devise an editorial calendar once a month so you know what you’re going to write about. If you’re stuck for ideas, read other blogs in your niche; subscribe to Google alerts so you can see what else is being said about your niche subject; and set up a # search on Twitter for your subject to see what the latest news is.

12. Think of your target reader when you write your post. Will he/she find it useful?

13. Learn how to write engaging headlines. Here are some really useful tips from Copyblogger on how to write magnetic headlines.

14. Interact with your readers. If they write a comment, reply to it. Follow them on Twitter, ‘like’ their Facebook page etc.

Do you have any tips to add to these?

Related article: How do you get more people to read your blog posts?


9 Responses to “14 tips for a successful blog”

  1. Douglas Holland
    May 13th, 2011

    As usual very useful (another mini-article I don’t have to write). Think the comment on my Retweet sums up my feelings – Wish I had these (tips) when I started a blog (2004)!

    One minor point. WordPress is a good choice, but for some Freelancers, Blogger using a Custom Domain, or a similar service could be a real option.

  2. Carole
    May 13th, 2011

    Wow – you’ve been blogging a long time!

    I started my first blog using Blogger (without a custom domain name) but I like WordPress because of all the great plug-ins. My cat still blogs using Blogger. ;)

  3. Douglas Holland
    May 13th, 2011

    Started the Blog as an experiment (in the same way I started twitter). No forward plan and indeed no real expectation of continuing with it for more than a month, or two. So it never had a focus to start with and the the lack to a clear direction and indeed consistent posting has bedevilled it ever since.

    About the only really good thing about it is its title: ‘Idle Thoughts of an Idle Man (ITIM)’ . Sadly even this does NOT reflect the Content which is often, but not always the result of something that has seriously irritated me. Also I do not post on a regular basis, so there might be one post in a month (or even none at all) to 4 in a month. So it breaks every common sense rule for a successful Blog: No Focus, No regular Posts and an Idle Man at the Helm!

    If/when I start another, it will be as the result of careful planning, a subject area with clear boundaries and a regular Posting Schedule. However I would keep ITIM as reminder of what happens when an experimental test bed escapes with no project plan (although I have repeated the errors on my first Twitter account, so I am obviously a slow learner).

  4. Jon Buscall
    May 15th, 2011

    Great stuff! How do you schedule your posts on Twitter ? I’m loving Buffer bufferapp.com at the moment.
    It’s a great way of scheduling ten posts a day, especially for us folks in Europe hoping to connect with North America.

  5. Freelance FactFile
    May 15th, 2011

    Hi Jon

    I use Tweetdeck which has a scheduling facility. I used to use SocialOomph to schedule tweets but no need now that you can do it via Tweetdeck. Haven’t tried Buffer. Will give it a go.

  6. Jon Buscall
    May 15th, 2011

    The interesting thing about Buffer is the Google Chrome extension. It makes scheduling a tweet of something you read super fantastically easy !

  7. get clients
    November 24th, 2011

    Hello to all, it

  8. brand reputation
    March 24th, 2013

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It’s always interesting to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from their sites.

  9. Carole Seawert
    March 24th, 2013

    Thanks for the kind words, brand reputation. Glad you found the post useful.

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